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PMC Articles Tagged 'drought'

Drought, population force city to find more water

February 28th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Please see this recent article, published in the Galveston County Daily News and reporting on the travails of League City, TX in their efforts to provide water resources to a growing population. If population growth continues, by 2035 the city will need about 50 million gallons a day. Right now they can pump 21.5 million gallons a day. See: http://galvestondailynews.com/story/295958

Drought, population force city to find more water

By Christopher Smith Gonzalez

The Daily News

Published February 26, 2012

Photo by Kevin M. Cox

LEAGUE CITY – Recent rains might be a balm to a state scorched by a historic drought, but League City still has a pressing water problem.

The city can pump only about 21.5 million gallons of water a day. The drought – coupled with the city’s growing population – has meant the city came close to its limit during the past summer.

The city does have plans to acquire more water, but the person who had been pushing those projects, former acting City Manager Rich Oller, resigned earlier this month.

But now Oller is back. He signed a contract last week that will pay him $175 an hour for consulting work.

To read the full story, please click here: http://galvestondailynews.com/story/295958

Drought: A Creeping Disaster

November 7th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

From the NY Times. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/opinion/sunday/17drought.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss


Drought: A Creeping Disaster


Published: July 16, 2011

FLOODS, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other geological phenomena have left a trail of destruction during the first half of 2011. But this could be just the start to a remarkable year of bad weather. Next up: drought. In the South, 14 states are now baking in blast-furnace conditions – from Arizona, which is battling the largest wildfire in its history, to Florida, where fires have burned some 200,000 acres so far. Worse, drought, unlike earthquakes, hurricanes and other rapid-moving weather, could become a permanent condition in some regions.

Climatologists call drought a “creeping disaster” because its effects are not felt at once. Others compare drought to a python, which slowly and inexorably squeezes its prey to death.

The great aridification of 2011 began last fall; now temperatures in many states have spiked to more than 100 degrees for days at a stretch. A high pressure system has stalled over the middle of the country, blocking cool air from the north. Texas and New Mexico are drier than in any year on record.

The deadly heat led to 138 deaths last year, more than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods, and it turns brush to tinder that is vulnerable to lightning strikes and human carelessness. Already this year, some 40,000 wildfires have torched over 5.8 million acres nationwide – and the deep heat of August is likely to make conditions worse before they get better.

Climatologists disagree about what caused this remarkable dry-out. But there is little disagreement about the severity of the drought – or its long-term implications.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/opinion/sunday/17drought.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself

October 5th, 2011 by PMC | Add a Comment

Thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for this article.  See http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/center/articles/2011/new-york-times-06-04-2011.html

The New York Times, June 4, 2011

A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself
By Justin Gillis

CIUDAD OBREGÓN, Mexico – The dun wheat field spreading out at Ravi P. Singh’s feet offered a possible clue to human destiny. Baked by a desert sun and deliberately starved of water, the plants were parched and nearly dead.

Dr. Singh, a wheat breeder, grabbed seed heads that should have been plump with the staff of life. His practiced fingers found empty husks.

“You’re not going to feed the people with that,” he said.

But then, over in Plot 88, his eyes settled on a healthier plant, one that had managed to thrive in spite of the drought, producing plump kernels of wheat. “This is beautiful!” he shouted as wheat beards rustled in the wind.

Hope in a stalk of grain: It is a hope the world needs these days, for the great agricultural system that feeds the human race is in trouble.

The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries.

Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories – wheat, rice, corn and soybeans – has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in two huge spikes in international grain prices since 2007, with some grains more than doubling in cost.

Those price jumps, though felt only moderately in the West, have worsened hunger for tens of millions of poor people, destabilizing politics in scores of countries, from Mexico to Uzbekistan to Yemen. The Haitian government was ousted in 2008 amid food riots, and anger over high prices has played a role in the recent Arab uprisings.

Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change.

For the rest of the article, please click here: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/center/articles/2011/new-york-times-06-04-2011.html

Crop growers brace for more violence in Egypt

June 22nd, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

I came across this article in the Egyptian Gazette on an Egypt Air flight. See:

Crop Growers Brace for More Violence in Egypt

By Mohssen Arishie – The Egyptian Gazette
Sunday, June 5, 2011 04:22:53 PM

CAIRO – As the nation starts to sweat under a scorching sun, Egyptian farmers are afraid that there may be more brawls like last year’s over the lack of irrigation water.

Soothing statements by the Government about the resumption of cordial relations with other Nile Basin states haven’t persuaded infuriated farmers to stop cursing water officials.

Every summer, crop growers get involved in nasty fights with their neighbours over who should irrigate their land first, saving their crops from dying.

Sometimes, farmers’ crops in hard-hit areas do in fact shrivel up and die. The tragedy can be more disastrous, when some growers ignore the public’s health and use sewage water to irrigate their land.

Many citizens have died as a result of eating contaminated fruit and vegetables. The Government is also suffering, as health officials complain that the medical treatment for people who get sick from eating contaminated agricultural produce is very expensive. Ridiculing the Government’s complaints, a frustrated crop grower insists that a proper irrigation system would be great for the public’s health and the State budget.

Abdel-Aziz Khalaf, a farmer in the Delta Governorate of el-Menoufiya, condemns the Government, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture, for betraying the farmers in summer.

“Although there is a shortage of irrigation water every summer, it does not seem that the agricultural officials are willing to suggest a solution. Everybody is letting down everybody else. The Government does not want to learn from past disasters,” he says.

To read the full article, please click here:


June 22nd, 2011 by joe | 2 Comments

Thanks to Lester Brown for this article.  See www.earth-policy.org/plan_b_updates/2011/update97

When The Nile Runs Dry

Earth Policy Release
Plan B Update
June 7, 2011

By Lester R. Brown

A new scramble for Africa is under way. As global food prices rise and exporters reduce shipments of commodities, countries that rely on imported grain are panicking. Affluent countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China and India have descended on fertile plains across the African continent, acquiring huge tracts of land to produce wheat, rice and corn for consumption back home.

Some of these land acquisitions are enormous. South Korea, which imports 70 percent of its grain, has acquired 1.7 million acres in Sudan to grow wheat-an area twice the size of Rhode Island. In Ethiopia, a Saudi firm has leased 25,000 acres to grow rice, with the option of expanding this to 750,000 acres. And India has leased several hundred thousand acres there to grow corn, rice and other crops.

These land grabs shrink the food supply in famine-prone African nations and anger local farmers, who see their governments selling their ancestral lands to foreigners. They also pose a grave threat to Africa’s newest democracy: Egypt.

Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon Drought Caused Huge Carbon Emissions

March 11th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Laurie David for this article.  See http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/news/amazon-drought-caused-huge-carbon-emissions/

Amazon Drought Caused Huge Carbon Emissions

By Stuart Grudgings (Reuters) – February 8, 2011

A widespread drought in the Amazon rain forest last year was worse than the “once-in-a-century” dry spell in 2005 and may have a bigger impact on global warming than the United States does in a year, British and Brazilian scientists said on Thursday.

More frequent severe droughts like those in 2005 and 2010 risk turning the world’s largest rain forest from a sponge that absorbs carbon emissions into a source of the gases, accelerating global warming, the report found.

Trees and other vegetation in the world’s forests soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow, helping cool the planet, but release it when they die and rot.

“If events like this happen more often, the Amazon rain forest would reach a point where it shifts from being a valuable carbon sink slowing climate change to a major source of greenhouse gases that could speed it up,” said lead author Simon Lewis, an ecologist at the University of Leeds.

The study, published in the journal Science, found that last year’s drought caused rainfall shortages over a 1.16 million square-mile (3 million square km) expanse of the forest, compared with 734,000 square miles (1.9 million square km) in the 2005 drought.

It was also more intense, causing higher tree mortality and having three major epicenters, whereas the 2005 drought was mainly focused in the southwestern Amazon.

As a result, the study predicted the Amazon forest would not absorb its usual 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in both 2010 and 2011.

To read the full article, click here: http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/news/amazon-drought-caused-huge-carbon-emissions/

Somalia faces malnutrition crisis

March 7th, 2011 by joe | 1 Comment

Thanks to Eric Rimmer begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting for this article.  See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/03/somalia-faces-malnutrition-emergency

Somalia faces malnutrition crisis

Severe drought leaves nearly a third of children acutely malnourished in some areas and pushes up food prices

Xan Rice in Galkayo

Thursday 3 February 2011 13.58 GMT

Severe drought in Somalia has left nearly one in three children acutely malnourished in some areas double the normal emergency threshold and caused a sharp rise in food prices.

An estimated 2.4 million people about a third of Somalia’s population require humanitarian aid after the failure of recent rains, according to the UN. This figure is up from 2 million six months ago.

Though fighting continues in many areas of the country, drought has overtaken insecurity as the main reason for people being displaced.

In the most striking sign of the emerging crisis, the exodus from conflict-racked Mogadishu in recent years has reversed, with thousands of people leaving the countryside for the capital in search of food and water over the past two months. With widespread livestock deaths reported, other families are selling their remaining possessions to raise money to travel to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

“It’s a very worrying situation, and there may still be worse to come,” Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia, has said during a visit to the country. “The high malnutrition rates among children mean that there will be deaths due to the drought.”

To read the full article, click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/03/somalia-faces-malnutrition-emergency